Saturday, December 5, 2015

A moral outrage and a national disgrace

There was a front page editorial in the New York Times yesterday, "End the Gun Epidemic in America":
(M)otives do not matter to the dead in California, nor did they in Colorado, Oregon, South Carolina, Virginia, Connecticut and far too many other places. The attention and anger of Americans should also be directed at the elected leaders whose job is to keep us safe but who place a higher premium on the money and political power of an industry dedicated to profiting from the unfettered spread of ever more powerful firearms.

It is a moral outrage and a national disgrace that civilians can legally purchase weapons designed specifically to kill people with brutal speed and efficiency. These are weapons of war, barely modified and deliberately marketed as tools of macho vigilantism and even insurrection. America’s elected leaders offer prayers for gun victims and then, callously and without fear of consequence, reject the most basic restrictions on weapons of mass killing, as they did on Thursday. They distract us with arguments about the word terrorism. Let’s be clear: These spree killings are all, in their own ways, acts of terrorism. ...

...politicians abet would-be killers by creating gun markets for them, and voters allow those politicians to keep their jobs. It is past time to stop talking about halting the spread of firearms, and instead to reduce their number drastically — eliminating some large categories of weapons and ammunition.

It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation. ...

What better time than during a presidential election to show, at long last, that our nation has retained its sense of decency?

That's just an excerpt, of course, but let me emphasize this paragraph by repeating it: "It is not necessary to debate the peculiar wording of the Second Amendment. No right is unlimited and immune from reasonable regulation."

Freedom of speech is guaranteed in the Constitution, too, but slander and libel are still crimes. So is treason. You can still be arrested for falsely yelling, "Fire!" in a crowded theater. No right is absolute.

Freedom of religion is also guaranteed by our Constitution, but you can't burn witches alive. You can't sacrifice people - even willing volunteers - to your bloodthirsty god. You still have to obey the law, no matter what your religious beliefs might be.

Personally, I don't think that the 2nd Amendment is about individual gun rights at all, but rather the rights of states to equip their national guard units. (You know, the whole "well regulated militia" part that gun nuts prefer to ignore.)

But even if I'm wrong about that, it doesn't matter. No rights are absolute. Reasonable regulations are absolutely constitutional. Not that we'll get any. We have mass shootings every single day, on average, and it does nothing. Even when it's children, we do nothing.

We've lost all sense of decency, apparently.


jeff725 said...

The terrible news happenings of the last two weeks and the rhetoric from the Republicans and their fellow travellers brings to the surface this rant courtesy of the best actress you've never heard of, Julia Sawalha:

Chimeradave said...

I keep hoping that all these mass shooting will force lawmakers to pass more gun regulations. There have been so many shootings! How can any sane person still thing it's a good idea for people to be able to buy AKs?

WCG said...

John, we did nothing - nothing - when 20 elementary school children were killed in Sandy Hook. I don't expect anything now.